A supremacy battle among members of two rival cult groups, the Klaans and Black Axe Confraternities, over the control of a minibus Park in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, has left many dead.
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While residents claimed the clash which started on Sunday had claimed 16 lives, the state police command said four persons were killed.
PUNCH Metro gathered that the clash started on Sunday in the Nwanniba area of the state capital when members of the two rival groups engaged one another over alleged encroachment into the park to collect tolls.
A resident of the community, Nora Iwang, told journalists in Uyo on Tuesday that property worth millions of naira have been destroyed in the crisis while thousands have deserted their homes.
Nora, who said she was returning home when the crisis started, disclosed that she had to pass the night with friends outside the area, following the calls she received from neighbours around Udo Ekpo Nkpo Street over the incident.
“I thank God that I finally arrived at my house this morning (Tuesday) after my friends called me on Monday evening to sleep elsewhere and not to return for fear of being killed by the rampaging armed hoodlums,” Iwang said.
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Another resident, Anofiok Usen, said, “My wife called me around 7.50pm on Monday that I should not return home because of ongoing killings around my area in Udo Ekpo Nkpo Street and the adjoining areas of Nwanibba, Ekpri Nsukara, Eniong Offot and Use Offot communities. I had to take refuge at my sister’s place off Abak Road till this morning, Tuesday.”
“These last three days, we have been staying indoors from 6pm because of the fight and policemen will only patrol major roads, without going into the villages to confront the real culprits,” another resident, who identified herself as Emem Duncan, told our correspondent.
PUNCH Metro gathered that eight people were killed in Use Offot, and more than 10 others were killed in Anua, Ekpri Nsukara and Oniong communities, while many others who sustained injuries are currently receiving treatment in the hospitals.
Meanwhile, the state Police Public Relations Officer, SP Odiko Macdon, who confirmed the killings in a statement on Tuesday, said four people were killed.
He said, “The state Commissioner of Police, Olatoye Durosinmi, is miffed at the disruption of public order and safety by two rival cult groups at Anua Offot and Use Offot, both at Nwaniba, in the Uyo Local Government Area, leading to the loss of lives.
“The CP condemned in strong terms the wanton destruction of lives and has vowed to bring perpetrators to book; hence, he has deployed tactical resources to restore order and fish out the perpetrators.
“The CP has, therefore, called on residents of the said communities and Uyo, to go about their lawful businesses without fear of molestation and be assured of their safety because of strategies emplaced.
“He has sent a clear warning to perpetrators of these dastardly acts to desist forthwith or face the dire consequences of their actions.”